Posted By Ross Domoney
in 2011, I was lucky enough to venture to Jordan, helping a friend film a documentary. This trip could not of come at a more needed time. I had just finished a second cut of the footage I had shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo a few months prior. I was feeling a bit depressed after my brain had begun to process the horrible stories we filmed in DRC, and I needed a break and to step away from editing. I appreciated the chance to go to a new place and focus on photography again. It wasnt until just recently that I got these pictures processed. They were shot on my Hassleblad, which I must say - I have a love-hate relationship with. It is a beautiful camera but the hassle and finances it costs me are ghastly. The aperture blades on the lens jam quite often and ends up costing a fortune to fix. The processing and scanning ends up being just as damaging.
But all this aside, the satisfaction (through it's high quality format) I feel when I get the pictures back from the lab is awesome. The picture above is of a Bedouin tribes man in the northern Jordanian desert. We spent most of our time in Jordan with this Bedouin community, who offered us such kind hospitality. I can't imagine what they must have thought of us with our high tech camera gear and sun cream. It was still blisteringly hot in Jordan and most of the labour work could only be done early in the morning, or at dusk. This was perfect for taking photos. That night, as we stayed with them, a surreal scene took place as we were trying to sleep. The desert was respectfully silent, but after sometime we noticed menacing shadows passing the tents accompanied with sinister gnarling sounds. The shadows were from wild dogs in the desert, quite big ones on the prowl for food. Their choice of food that night were chickens. We slept to the crude sound of chickens falling victim to their hungry chops.
The photo above is from Wadi Rum desert in the south, one of the most beautiful landscapes I have seen. It is the location that Laurence of Arabia was filmed and it felt like I was on Mars. We moved around by Jeep, riding dunes stopping for chai, and climbing rocks. The desert again was silent, but there were these shrubs that we came across that, when you put your ear close to it, would reveal the sound of a mighty wind. That sound was caught in the skeleton of the shrub, once you pulled your ear away, all would fall silent again.
That day we met a local who was trying to impress his newlywed wife by driving up a sand dune. He managed to fail 4 times in a row, before giving it one last determined try. He floored it towards the sand dune and kind of ended up driving halfway through it and not up it. His poor car suffered for this and his bumper lay in the sand in tatters.
After witnessing this act of defiance, a friend and I decided to go for a walk to get some pictures. You know those kind of walks where you get more and more excited and end up walking further and further away. We lost sight of the group we were with, as well as the trashed 4x4 which did not make it up the sand dune. As the sun was setting, we figured it was wise to head back before we really would struggle to find them. As we were strolling back, we heard gun shots. Upon our arrival, we learnt that the local who trashed his car, was kind enough to fire his pistol in the air numerous times so that we could track their location. I guess this did kind of work.
Soon enough the local left in his bumperless car, and after sometime we decided to leave too. We rode back to the camp we were staying in, hanging onto the side bars of the land cruiser we were traveling in. As we pulled up to the camp, once again we heard shots ringing through the air. Once inside the camp, we saw that the same local was trying to impress a waiter by shooting holes in the toilet door. The waiter patiently urged the man to put his gun back in his tent, which he did hastily. I must say this was to some extent a relief as we discovered the man had been drinking quite heavily.
The above photo was taken back with the kind Bedouins who let us stay with them. In this you see the fathers eyes are red from the sand. My poor cameras got creamed with sand at times, their very worst nightmare indeed. Throughout my time spent in Jordan, there were so many peaceful moments in silence, under the stars or the sun, I relished this silence.
This humble man used to be a royal guard for the Jordanian monarch. After leaving his post he headed back into the desert. This kind man took a liking to me, and we often had a broken conversation through hand gestures which was most enjoyable. I love this about traveling, you often feel like you are playing charades, it most normally ends in laughter.
On the last morning with the Bedouin tribe, I took this photo. The ladies face caught my attention, I was mesmerised to take a photo. I was unsure as whether to approach her or not, I did not see men talk to the women a lot whilst we were there. And it felt as though there was perhaps some kind of restriction for us to do so too. When this woman was alone tending to some goats, I felt more confident to approach her. I had no means of communicating with her other than to approach slowly, kindly and point at my camera with a little grin. She didn't nod a yes or a no. There was a silence, but it did not make me feel awkward. After a few seconds, she reflected a small smile back to me. I slowly put my eye to my camera and snapped a frame.
That night I had one of my fondest outdoor memories. We left the Bedouin camp for my friends uncle's house, it was pitch black and I was with a close friend. We were offered a lift in a Toyota pick up truck, the door was opened for us but we refused to get in, we wanted to lie in the back, which turned out to be a monumental idea. The car left the camp and we were out in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere. We lay on our backs looking straight up at the stars. They were the best stars I have seen in years. There was hardly any moon, and no cars on the road to distract from the stars. As we were moving, the silhouettes of the mountains would move with the night sky. We had about an hour of this with no distractions until our friends caught up with us and their headlights ended the show. For me, looking back over these photos - although not capturing all the memories I have described, it certainly reminded me of the nice step away I had in Jordan.
Photo stories by Ross Domoney
A Tale of Two Cities - by Ross Domoney
Brasov is considered to be one of Romania's most important cities. A place of utmost historical importance since the times of the medieval days. It is situated at the crossroads of the country's trade routes, which has always given it significant economic influence.
Since Romania's violent revolution of 1989 it has continually grown as a cultural and economic centre. This growth makes Brasov today a modern cosmopolitan city in a diverse location, with beautiful architecture, modern shopping centers and intensive social as well as cultural activity. Central Brasov is a perfect example of how the European Union would like tourists to see Romania. However, not far from this merry colorful picture, there is another one: Grey and poverty ridden. A few kilometers away from Brasov town centre, an old man indicates the way to a Roma village. In Zizin, there is no trace of modernity or welfare.
British Nationalism - By Ross Domoney
The EDL (English Defence League) are a protest group formed as a direct response to a much publicised protest held by Islamic Fundamentalists, which disrupted a homecoming parade held for returning British soldiers in Luton in March 2009. The Group which has tenuous ties to the BNP, and various football hooligan firms, denies it is a racist, fascist movement. Ross Domoney has been following the rapid rise of the EDL which has become a disturbing symbol of the power of grass roots movements.
Greece On Strike - By Ross Domoney
A documentation of one of the seven general strikes which took place in Greece last year amongst escalating social unrest caused by the economic uncertainty, rising unemployment and the ever fading trust between the political classes and the population. Prior to May 5th – 2010, Prime Minister George Papandreou passed on the controversial IMF/EU bail out package in an attempt to pull Greece out of it’s soaring debt. In exchange for this 110 billion euro bail out package, the government put plans in place to cut public spending such as wages and raise taxes. The number of protesters who took to the streets of Athens on May 5th is unclear - some say 100,000, while others say up to 500,000. A large group of these protesters attempted to storm parliament as police battled to keep them from doing so.